"CE and BCE came into use in the last few decades, perhaps originally in Ancient Near Eastern studies, where: (a) there are many Jewish scholars and (b) dating according to a Christian era is irrelevant. 18th century, when a great deal of PC work went on. Not that dictionaries are universally fair to Christians (check out some definitions of _jesuitical_ and _pontificate_)." "The term 'Common Era' is traced back in English to its appearance as 'Vulgar Era' (from the Latin word vulgus, the common people, i.e.I have seen it called the Christian era, so that removing Christ did not work for some. those who are not royalty), to distinguish it from the Regnal dating systems typically used in national law.BC and AD do have a religious significance because they state that Yeshua of Nazareth is both God and Messiah: AD means "Year of the Lord." BC means "Before Christ" or "Before the Messiah." This religious component makes CE and BCE more attractive to many people -- particularly secularists, non-Christians and liberal Christians.CE and BCE are notations that are not based on religion or myth. The AD/BC notation was first proposed by the monk Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Little) in the year 525 CE.
A Google search for "1492 AD" returned about 1,650 hits; "AD 1492" returned 1,060. A search for "CE 1492" returned only 75 hits; "1492 CE" returned 874. However the assumption by the common dictionaries that common = Christian suggests that this attempt to unbias the reference system with respect to religion fares no better than attempts to reduce sex discrimination (wherein _chairperson_ is often the signal that the _chair_ is a woman, and _Ms._ is often treated as a synonym for _Miss_).
In 1422 [CE], Portugal became the last country of western Europe to adopt the Anno Domini..." notation.
Until the eighteenth century CE, the term Anno Salutis ("in the year of salvation") or Anno Nostrae Salutis ("in the year of our salvation"), Anno Salutis Humanae ("in the year of the salvation of men"), and Anno Reparatae Salutis ("in the year of accomplished salvation") were sometimes used in place of AD. "Only Rosten's Joys of Yiddish comments on these abbreviations that they have long been popular with Jewish scholars who were uncomfortable with a christological dating system. Unfortunately I can find no information to hand on just how long this has been a common practice, or if it indeed originated with Jewish scholars.
However, Josephus also mentioned that an eclipse occurred just before Herod's death.
The great early astronomer Kepler dated that eclipse to 4 BCE.